Hey Spike: From days as an NCAA mascot to community service, Summit County woman keeps the surprises coming
Special to the Daily
Even Hey, Spike! finds interviews to be surprising.
Whoddathunk a longtime local woman was a big time NCAA college mascot? The Summit’s own Susan Fairweather continues to show an abundance of enthusiasm and teamplay in her professional career.
Susan is the Frisco Basecamp Kaiser Permanente community relations senior specialist, a post she was appointed to in 2015, and she’s added the informal title of “Director of Fun.”
It’s likely not a big jump from her collegiate days at the University of Houston, when she was Shasta, mascot of the University of Houston Cougars, for some of the school’s glory days in football and basketball.
She attended the 1980 Cotton Bowl, and watched the Cougars beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 17-14, in addition to witnessing the amazing “Phi Slamma Jamma” basketball days under Coach Guy Lewis.
“Talk about fun,” Susan recalls fondly.
She graduated from the Texas powerhouse in 1982 with a degree in finance.
In junior high, she and her family — mom Ruth, dad Bob, sister Nancy and brother Rob — moved to Breckenridge in the early ’70s, where her dad opened the West Bank restaurant.
During her days at Summit High, she was the projectionist at the Summit Cinema, the movie theater building that collapsed this winter under the massive early season snows, and editor of Tiger Tracks, the school newspaper.
Graduating from Summit in 1976, Susan received one of only two scholarships offered back then. Also in that senior class was Al Jorgensen, who went on to become famous as a heavy metal artist in the band Ministry.
“We never see him at our reunions, which we had last August in Frisco, our 40th class reunion,” Susan noted.
“I have been here on and off, but living in my Slalom Drive home around 32 years now,” she said. “I left Summit when my daughter, Annalisa, started school (her dad was living in Ohio) and returned to Breckenridge in 2007 when she graduated.”
When Susan came back to Colorado, she landed a job at the town of Dillon as director of economic development and marketing, staying there until 2014.
She took a similar position with the town of Avon as director of economic initiatives, which included special events.
“I had a lot of fun in Dillon as I led a rebranding project, was the emcee at the Dillon Amphitheater for many years and had the opportunity to create so many fun events,” said Susan.
“Now, at Kaiser, I get to work with local nonprofits and towns in supporting their great work. My heart is of service to others. That makes working for Kaiser Permanente a pretty amazing place to serve and work,” she added.
She’s also served on numerous boards and been involved in a variety of community of efforts. She was firefighter with the Red White & Blue Fire Department in the early ’90s.
“We were volunteers back then,” she noted.
Another “good gal” effort comes with the title of the “Cookie Lady” — one of two — on Slalom Drive, where Susan bakes hundreds of cookies for the Summit County Road and Bridge crew throughout winter to let them know how much they are appreciated.
“I dropped off eleven-dozen cookies this week to put a smile on their faces as we wind down the snow season,” Susan said.
She also skis regularly, while adding fly-fishing, hiking, camping and scuba diving to her schedule.
But what’s missing in Susan’s life is “A garage — I am ready to have one,” she said. “Other than that, I have a very fun and full life. I must say I really didn’t mind splitting nine cords of wood 30 years ago — I heated my home with two wood burning stoves back then. I never minded the snow on my car either, but in my late ’50s, a garage would be sweet.”
In the future, Susan dreams of “moving to Latin America for part of the year — if I ever retire, and speaking fluent Spanish. And free time to travel wherever and whenever my heart desires.”
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to email@example.com.
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